A recent poll in the UK found that, while most homosexuals believe that the Government should redefine marriage to allow same-sex couples to tie the knot, a significant number 25pc, don't think it's needed, and 39pc don't think it's a priority.
Atheist historian David Starkey (pictured) seems to be part of that 25pc. In this piece for the Daily Telegraph, he laments the possibility that legalising same-sex marriage could lead to the disestablishment of the Church of England.
Starkey writes: "As an atheist gay who regards marriage as part of the baggage of heterosexual society which I have come to respect but can never fully share, I am tempted to say a plague on both your houses. As a conservative and a patriot, however, I am aware – and increasingly so – of the value of established institutions and suspicious of the levelling equality which dissolves them and atomises society."
He also argues that, contrary to popular perception, the Church of England has always taken a tough line on marriage.
Referring to the gradual liberalisation of divorce law, Starkey writes: "In retrospect, the tide of liberalisation looks irresistible. But the Church fought every inch. Delaying tactics held back change for decades and, even when change was conceded, it deployed social stigma and the Crown’s authority to turn the legally divorced – who were banned from Court and the Royal Enclosure at Ascot – into social pariahs. And it has never conceded – as Prince Charles discovered to his cost – the principle of the remarriage of divorcees during the lifetime of the parties to the original marriage.
"Can gays really be surprised that they are being treated with the same rigour as the heir to the throne and would-be Defender of Faith? For the Church’s grounds for its refusal to countenance gay marriage are identical. They even come from the same crucial verses in St Matthew’s Gospel where Christ roots the indissolubility of marriage in the God-given separateness and complementarity of men and women: 'But from the beginning of creation', He said, ''God made them male and female. For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and cleave to his wife. And they twain shall be one flesh; so then they are no more twain, but one flesh'."